What to Do When Your Basement Floods
A wet basement does not sound like an experience anyone wants to have. Indeed, for many homeowners, it sounds like anyone’s worst nightmare. Understandably, there may be panic and uncertainty in the face of disaster. However, should the worst occur, we are here to help. There are steps you can take to get you back on the right track and begin the process of repairing your basement and making it good as new.
From the moment you even begin to notice a leaky basement, you want to make sure you are ahead of the game. If you are prepared, you can easily prevent a flooded basement – but even if it happens, it is not the end of the world. You can always call in experts for foundation repair or basement leak repair. Here are some tips on what to do from the moment you realize you have moisture in basement areas of your home.
Make Sure It Is Safe
The moment you notice a damp basement, or a leak, be sure to unplug, shut off, and disconnect any electronics in the area. This also includes any gas-powered items. Never enter the damaged area if any power source is on, as it could potentially be very dangerous. If you need assistance in shutting off or disconnecting anything, call a professional – do not attempt anything that may be dangerous.
You should also preliminarily assess what potential dangers there may be. If you smell anything that may resemble a gas leak, do not enter the basement area. Once you are sure it is safe to enter, remember to wear the proper gear, such as gloves and boots to keep your extremities safe. Consider wearing a mask, as well.
Determine the Flood Source
If the flood seems to be caused by rainfall, wait until the storm passes before you enter the basement. If this does not seem to be the case, and there is some other issue, carefully survey the area. Perhaps you are in need of a foundation repair, where water has slipped through the cracks. If the source is a burst pipe of some sort, be sure to shut off water flow immediately.
Other possibilities include a backed-up floor drain, or some sort of appliance error like a washing machine. Remember: make sure all devices are off and disconnected prior to entering the basement, and then determine the problem.
Remove the Water
To the best of your ability, once you know the cause of the flooding, begin removing water from the affected area as much as possible. Depending on the severity of the flooding, there are a number of options for cleaning out the water. You could use a wet/dry vacuum, a pool pump, or a mop and bucket for smaller amounts. You could also use your home’s sump pump, which is typically located in the lowest part of the basement and is used to send water away from the home after a flood.
Do not be afraid to ask for help, be it from friends, neighbours, or even a company that can assist with the water removal. Anything to help expedite the process efficiently and safely will be beneficial to preventing extra damage to your home.
Start the Clean Up
If the flooding was severe, you may find that you will have to get rid of any number of items. Once the area is clear of water, you will need to dispose of any electronics that were affected by the flooding. You will also need to get rid of any fabric items that were damaged and not washed within 48 hours of the flooding, as they can become dangerous.
If you had rugs or carpeting in your basement, the areas affected by the water will most likely need to be removed and replaced to insure cleanliness and a clean bill of health, since wet fabric can hold bacteria and mold. You also may need to get rid of furniture if the flooding was severe, but in some cases, you might be able to get help from furniture experts to preserve them.
Let It Dry
Drying the basement is extremely important. You need to remove anything impeding the area from drying and consider getting a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture. You can rent industrial strength dehumidifiers that are perfectly suited for larger areas, and those alone will significantly decrease the chance of any mold growth.
Allow for as much ventilation as possible – if there are doors and windows in the basement area, open them to allow the space to air out and dry safely. Along with a dehumidifier, consider some fans for optimal drying time. Whatever way you choose to do it, you should expect to require at least a few days of drying time, depending on the severity and area of the flooding.
At this point, if you have any flooding insurance, be sure you make a report or claim if needed to see what your coverage is.
Waterproof Your Basement
The flooding is done, the damaged items and areas have been removed or fixed, and the time has come to put your basement back in order. However, before you just replace your carpet or invest in new appliances, you should definitely consider waterproofing your entire basement, not just the damaged area.
Even if you have not experienced a basement flood, it would still be incredibly beneficial to any homeowner with a basement to look into waterproofing their basement. It is always better to be prepared than to face disaster down the road.
At H&N Basement Worx, we offer both exterior and interior waterproofing for homes and basements, as well as foundation repairs and leak repairs. We specialize in repairing and preventing basement floods, as well as any cracks in the foundation to keep your home and basement in top shape. We can provide consultation and foundation inspections easily, and offer the best solutions or preventative steps for all manner of basement (and home-remove) flooding issues. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact us today.